Last week, Telus’ e-mail services were out of commission for almost a week and thousands of people were not able to check their e-mails. For those who don’t know, Telus is a large ISP that offers services in several provinces in Canada. They are a national company. When the e-mail outage occurred, angry mobs of people stormed social media and phone lines to complain that they couldn’t access their e-mails. A large majority made the case that access to their e-mail accounts were critical to their everyday lives. Make no mistake, e-mail is so important now, I understand how frustrated they might be. On the other hand, how foolish could you be by choosing your mission critical e-mail provider your ISP?

I gotta think that there were folks at Telus who were genuinely surprised that that many people used their e-mail services as if they were their most critical accounts in their digital lives. I have always viewed ISP e-mail accounts like a throwaway service. ISPs aren’t in the business of providing e-mail services, their main focus is giving people access to the Internet. For years, ISP e-mail accounts had crappy web interfaces, tiny limits on attachments sizes, limits on inbox size, and the general stigma of being an ISP e-mail address. Not to mention that you’re stuck with that ISP if your e-mail accounts is tied to them.

I read so many comments that people were going to switch to Shaw, a rival ISP, as punishment for Telus. What an idiotic move. Their internet access was fine but they want to move to a rival because of their ISP e-mail account? That puts them right back in the same situation again, just with another company. These people should uncouple their e-mail accounts from their ISP. At the very least, they should get a Gmail or even a Hotmail account. What’s crazy is that some businesses were using their ISP e-mail accounts as a primary means of communication. That’s just dumb. If you’re gonna be a business, pay for a real e-mail provider, with a custom domain, and a minimum uptime and/or a guaranteed service level agreement.

I hope some people learned some hard lessons on how the Internet operates and how careful they need to be when choosing what services to use.

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